In a move that was fully expected, Miami Heat shooting guard Dion Waiters will be declining his 2017-18 player option with the team and be looking for a much larger salary as an unrestricted free agent. He had been scheduled to earn approximately $3.2 million next season.
Chris Haynes of ESPN.com wrote that while Waiters had previously indicated that his preference would be to stay with the Heat, he had until June 29 to make his final decision. Despite the news coming roughly four weeks before that deadline, the Heat were fully aware that he was going to opt out of his contract.
The 6-foot-4 Waiters, who was the fourth player selected overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, was limited to just 46 games this past season because of injuries. However, during his time on the court, Waiters averaged 15.8 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. The latter two categories marked career-highs for the 27-year-old Philadelphia native.
During the second half of the season, Waiters was especially effective, helping Miami compile a 30-11 mark that resulted in a near playoff berth.
The question now becomes how much interest other teams will have in a player who has worn the uniform of three different NBA teams during his five seasons in the league. That checkered past was one reason why the Heat were able to sign him to a two-year deal last July worth an estimated $5.9 million. While the team values his abilities, they reportedly won’t get into a bidding war to retain his services.